EU Governments Block Approval of Monsanto Hybrid Corn Variety (20/9/2005)

EU Governments Block Approval of Monsanto Hybrid Corn Variety

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- A committee of European Union national experts blocked approval of a Monsanto Co. genetically modified corn variety for animal feed, passing the dossier on to ministers for further consideration.

Monsanto's hybrid MON863 x MON810, altered to provide resistance to corn pests, failed to win over a majority of representatives from the EU's 25 governments. Seven countries voted in favor of the product's use, 12 voted against, five abstained and one nation didn't vote, European Commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich said in Brussels today.

The EU's policy of requiring scientific and political backing for new genetically altered products has been challenged by the U.S., Argentina and Canada before the World Trade Organization on the grounds that it inhibits trade. The EU grows less than 1 percent of the world crop, compared with the two-thirds share of the U.S.

Nine countries, including the U.S., Argentina and Canada, last year grew 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres) of modified corn of similar types to that blocked today by the EU, according to Merrickville, Canada-based Agbios, which collects information on biotechnology crops.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Duncan Hooper in Brussels at
[email protected].
Last Updated: September 19, 2005 10:51 EDT

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